Former Arsenal and Liverpool winger Jermaine Pennant has revealed he came tantalisingly close to a shock move to Real Madrid during his playing career, only for it to be scuppered by former Spurs manager Juande Ramos.
The ex-England Under-21 international is now 35, and currently without a club having recently appeared as a housemate on Celebrity Big Brother, but things could’ve gone down a very different path, according to Pennant’s interview in this month’s edition of FourFourTwo.
Pennant, who did end up playing in La Liga for a short period of time with Real Zaragoza, explained:
“Real Madrid wanted to sign me when [ex-Spurs manager] Juande Ramos, was in charge there.
“The board wanted to do the deal as they wanted a right-winger. On transfer deadline day I got a call from my agent, saying, ‘You could be going to Madrid – keep your phone on.’
“But the board had gone over the manager’s head, so he started to get upset, and to placate him they pulled the plug on the deal. The club wanted me; the manager didn’t.”
“Zaragoza was a bit difficult to live in as it was traditional Spain – it wasn’t very multicultural.
“On days off, I would go to Madrid or Barcelona for a good time. Once, I went to Barcelona for a night out and then got the train back on the morning of training, but I felt so bad that I couldn’t go in, so I told them I wasn’t well.
“The club doctor came to my house to check on me, but I didn’t answer the door. I think they knew!”
It might seem a little bit far-fetched when you look at the star-studded current Real Madrid team, but don’t forget Los Blancos once signed West Ham flop Julian Faubert, and Pennant was a pretty useful player in his heyday.
What do you think of Pennant’s comments, and would he have cut the mustard at the world’s biggest club?
What do you think?